19.02.2019

Seafarers once again became victims of fraudulent crewing agency

In Nakhodka the  frauds have raised  their activities in the  way of charging of  seafarer employment  fees. Therefore six seafarers became their  victims.

According  to the  Public Relations Office of the Russian  MIA Transport Administration in Far Eastern Federal District as quoted korabel.ru,  the  seafarers  filed their complaints  into the local line division of  the  transport police. The  affected persons told  that  they  had addressed in one of the local firms offering the  crew employment  services and  then transferred large amounts to a banking  account  of  its director-general. However none of them was hired. 

In preliminary investigation the investigators  of the  Nakhodka Line Transport Division of the  Russian Ministry of  Internal Affairs found  that  a resident  of  Primorsky Krai, who was registered as a legal entity, had been offering the  employment services  for seafarers  for RUB25,000 to RUB100,000 as a reward. The  employment  procedure  was hold without  service agreement signing. The  victims  gave  to fraudulent agency around RUB250,000 in total.

Unfortunately, such situations sometimes happen, Nikolai Sukhanov, the chairman at the Far Eastern Regional Organization of Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FERO), comments. Since  paying to  the fraudulent agencies, seafarers usually  are  waiting for decent-paid job  during two months, but  there are no vacancies. Other times seafarers transfer money for employment  on the  modern ship of  their dream, but they appear on a rust bucket  flying a flag of  convenience.  Consequently, all of them seek help  and protection  in the union  or   prosecutor's office. However it is  impossible  to help them the  seafarers put their own signatures under  doubtful agreements, often they even do not  look through them and pay money. 

How do steer clear from swindlers  and don't  get scammed? It should remember as a fundamental truth that the  Consolidated Maritime Labour  Convention, 2006 (MLC) outlaws to demand  from seafarers to cover  employment  service fees. Any offer of  such help for  monetary reward  is  a crime. Remember that the  services  of licensed crewing agency are  paid by shipowner rather than  a seafarer. 

The  SUR's website has a list of  licensed employment  agencies, the union points  out. Before starting to work with a company, you  should be familiarized with the list  or have consultations with the  union in your region.

Regarding the  failed-businessman  and seafarers in Nakhodka, who neglected all employment rules  and recommendations, a criminal case has been launched yet  into an offense under Part 2 Article 159 of the  Russian Criminal Code (Swindling). 

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